President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Abdah and an accompanying delegation met with officials in the Geneva Center for Security Policy and the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Swiss capital of Geneva on Monday.
The meeting came during an official visit to Switzerland that is due to last for two days. Abdah will also meet with the Swiss State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Yves Rossier and the UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura.
During a meeting with the Director of the Geneva Center for Security Policy, Ambassador Christian Dussey, Abdah gave an overview of the Syrian oppositions’ vision for a political solution in Syria. He reaffirmed the Syrian Coalition’s commitment to a political solution, stressing that the failure to achieve a political solution is attributed to the lack of seriousness on the part of the Assad regime and its insistence on pursuing a military solution with the support of its allies.
Abdah also blamed failure to achieve a political solution to the lack of sincere efforts by the international community as well as the spread of terrorism, especially the state terrorism being practiced by the regime and its allied foreign militias as well as the Al-Qaeda and ISIS extremist groups.
Abdah and Ambassador Dussey also discussed the Syrian Coalition's efforts to encourage Syrian-Syrian dialogue and its efforts at the social and political levels, most notably its efforts to give Syrian women greater political and social roles as well as in the leadership and decision-making process.
Member of the Syrian Coalition Hawas Khalil, who is part of the delegation, said that the militias of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) are seeking to impose a de facto authority on other Kurdish parties. He stressed that the PYD policies risk widening the gap created by the Assad regime among the components of the Syrian society.
The Syrian Coalition’s delegation raised the issue of the mass forced displacement and demographic change operations being carried out by the Assad regime in many parts across Syria, especially in the Damascus suburbs during a meeting with the ICRC’s regional director for the Middle East Robert Mardini. The delegation presented a report detailing the situation in the besieged areas across Syria to Mardini. The report explains how the Assad regime uses hunger, in addition to the bombing of hospitals, public markets, and civilian homes, to force civilians to leave their homes.
The meeting with Mardini also discussed the role of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in the delivery of aid to civilians in the regime-held areas. The Coalition’s delegation pointed out that the aid is usually distributed by the Assad regime and its militias.
For his part, Mardini reaffirmed the ICRC’s commitment to helping civilians trapped in the besieged areas, adding that the ICRC has so far made 48 visits to the besieged areas across Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)
The Syrian Coalition extended its sincere condolences to the families and friends of the fallen heroes of a group of Free Syrian Army fighters who were killed while trying to break into a regime-held army base in Dara’a province on Sunday.
Reports indicate that around 30 FSA fighters were killed after they have been encircled by regime forces and their foreign allied militias inside the base, known as the “Deserted Battalion” east of the town of Ibtaa’ in rural Dara’a.
The Syrian Coalition highly praised the bravery, patience, and steadfastness shown by the fallen heroes as well as all the FSA fighters in the face of the fascist Assad regime. The Coalition also praised the efforts made by the FSA and rebel fighters on all fronts to protect civilians and adhere firmly to the guidelines of the revolution and the Syrian people's rights to freedom, justice and dignity.
“The FSA heroes who fell in Dara’a on Sunday have joined their fellow Syrians who have given their lives to defend the Syrian people struggling to achieve their goals and aspirations. The death of those heroes will only bolster our determination to pursue the struggle for the sake of our country as well as the great Syrian people,” the Coalition said. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)
Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition Abdul Ilah Fahd criticized remarks made by the UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura who said that the offensive the FSA and rebel fighters launched to break the regime’ siege on Aleppo may amount to "war crimes." Fahd described these remarks as biased and a form of "double standards."
Fahd said that De Mistura has been silent over the war crimes the Assad regime and its Russian ally are committing against civilians in eastern of Aleppo, under siege for nearly three months. He said that internationally banned weapons, including white phosphorus, cluster munitions, and bunker-buster bombs have been systematically used against civilians in eastern Aleppo without the UN envoy openly condemning their use.
Fahd added that the UN envoy has also been ignoring the mass forced displacement and demographic change operations being carried out by the Assad regime. He stressed that De Mistura should have condemned the Russian and Iranian invasion as well as the intervention of foreign militias in Syria.
"Some UN officials continue to show bias in favor of the Assad regime and its Russian allies allowing their crimes in Syria to go unpunished. They also criticize the FSA and rebel fighters to cover up crimes by the Assad regime and its allies,” Fahd added. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)
President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Abdah highly praised the bravery shown by the FSA and rebel fighters who on Friday launched a large-scale offensive to break the siege by regime forces and their allied militias on eastern Aleppo as well as to liberate the regime-held western neighborhoods of the city.
“The brave fighters in Aleppo are fighting a great epic battle to break the siege and liberate the city from the mercenaries and enemies of civilization,” Abdah said, adding that “the free people everywhere in the world stand by the people of Aleppo.”
The Free Syrian Army and rebel groups are preparing to start the second phase of the offensive called the “Great Epic Battle of Aleppo.” rebel and FSA groups made rapid advances on Friday against regime forces and the Iranian-backed sectarian militias who are fighting under close aerial cover from the Russian air force.
The FSA and rebel fighters have converged at the perimeter fence of the Assad Military Academy having overrun the Dahiyat Al-Assad area in southwestern Aleppo. The Academy is the largest and most heavily defended regime bastion in western Aleppo.
Three major regime checkpoints in western Aleppo as well as the Cardboard Factory, Minyan Sawmill and parts of the 1070 Apartments Project area fell to the attacking forces on Friday.
Jaish Al-Fateh, the joint command center of FSA and rebel groups participating in the offensive, announced they have captured 10 militants of the Iraqi Al-Nujabaa’ militia in Dahiyat Al-Assad area. Rebel and FSA groups also said they have killed and injured dozens of pro-regime militants in Aleppo and its suburbs
Jaish Al-Fateh urged civilians living in western Aleppo to stay away from regime positions for fear of their safety.
Activists said that the FSA and rebel fighters began to fortify the positions they captured on Friday, adding that the most violent clashes are taking place in the 3000 Apartment Project area. (Source: Syrian Coalition)
The Free Syrian Army and rebel groups have announced the start of a new major offensive in Aleppo to break the siege regime forces, backed by the Iraqi Popular Mobilization and other Iranian-backed militias, impose on the eastern parts of the city.
The FSA and rebel offensive, called “The Great Epic Battle of Aleppo,” is also aimed at liberating the regime-held western parts of Aleppo, with fighters launching the first wave of attacks on two fronts in the city’s west and southwest.
Activists said that the FSA and rebel fighters broke the Assad regime’s first lines of defense in Dahiyat Al-Assad area a few hours after the offensive began. They also took control of three major regime checkpoints and the Cardboard Factory in western Aleppo.
Vehicles rigged with explosives were detonated at regime checkpoints in western Aleppo on Friday morning, before FSA and rebel “storm troops” began the first assaults on regime army positions, under cover of rocket and shell fire.
Alnairab airbase east of Aleppo, the 3,000 Apartments Project area, and Al-Assad Military Academy southwest of Aleppo came under a barrage of Grad, Katyusha, and DIY rockets as well as mortar shells.
Jaish Al-Fateh, the joint command center of FSA and rebel groups participating in the offensive, announced they have captured 10 militants of the Iraqi Al-Nujabaa’ militia in Dahiyat Al-Assad area. Rebel and FSA groups also said they killed and injured dozens of pro-regime militants in Aleppo and its suburbs.
Jaish Al-Fateh urged civilians living in western Aleppo to stay away from regime positions for fear of their safety.
A two-pronged attack is already underway targeting the regime-held Alzahraa district in western Aleppo and Minya, an area close to a small corridor of land held in the Ramousa area and which surrounds rebel-held eastern Aleppo.
Backed by aerial support from the Russian air force, the Assad regime forces and their allied Iranian-backed foreign militias have laid siege on eastern Aleppo for nearly three months, blocking the entry of food and medical supplies to more than 300,000 civilians trapped inside.
The Assad regime and its allies have repeatedly violated truces aimed at halting the aerial bombardment and the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians in eastern Aleppo.
In early September, the Assad regime and its Russian allies announced the launch of a large-scale offensive to capture eastern Aleppo, unleashing a brutal onslaught on the city and its countryside. Internationally banned weapons, including cluster munitions, bunker-buster bombs, napalm, and incendiary bombs have been systematically used in the regime’s onslaught, killing hundreds of civilians.
Observes and analysts described the Assad regime and Russian onslaught on Aleppo as a repeat of the tactics Russia employed in the Chechen capital of Grozny between the years 1994 and 1995. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)
Member of the Syrian Coalition Suheir Atassi called for lifting the sieges the Assad regime and its allies are imposing on rebel-held areas and for the urgent introduction of medical and food aid to civilians in need, especially in the town of Madaya in western Rural Damascus.
Atassi also called for the opening of humanitarian corridors and the safe evacuation of the wounded and sick from the besieged areas. She said that at least 25 people with acute renal failure in Madaya need to be urgently evacuated, warning that five of these people are dying.
Atassi said the UN failed to lift the sieges; open humanitarian corridors; and deliver humanitarian aid to civilians in need in line with the UN Security Council resolutions. She stressed that the bloodshed in Syria at the hands of the Assad regime and its allies requires more than expressions of sympathy. She said using the Russian veto as an excuse not to take action to end the bloodshed is not acceptable.
Activists on Thursday said that the humanitarian situation in the town of Madaya continues to deteriorate due to the lack of food and medical supplies. The last aid shipment entered the town a month ago.
Medical staff in Madaya on Thursday said that they were suspending medical work in the town and in the nearby town of Baqqin because of the lack of equipment and medicines as a result of the blockade imposed by regime forces and the Hezbollah militia on the area.
Medics in Madaya said that the Assad regime and the Hezbollah militia have prevented the UN agencies, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, and the Red Cross from evacuating any patients, including the most urgent cases. They called for the establishment of a center for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in the town of Madaya to be equipped with medical supplies and the necessary equipment and staff. They also called for an urgent introduction of medicines, vaccines, and medicines for chronic diseases.
In addition to the blockade imposed on the town, civilians trapped in Madaya have also been subjected to shelling and sniping by regime forces. Two civilians were killed in the past two days in the town by the regime’s shelling. (Source: Syrian Coalition)
Riad Hijab, General Coordinator of the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) said that Russia’s actions have led bare its real intentions behind its direct military intervention in Syria on the side of the Assad regime. Hijab said that after destroying most of the hospitals and infrastructure in Syria, Russia has recently set schools as its new target.
In a letter addressed to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon following an attack on the town of Hass in rural Idlib on Wednesday, Hijab said that Russia is destroying Syria and its civilization and seeking to uproot the Syrian people from their land. He warned that Russia’s actions threaten to push Syrians towards extremism as they are left with no hope.
Assad regime and Russian jets bombed a schools complex in the town of Hass, killing and injuring dozens of civilians, mostly schoolchildren and teachers.
Hijab criticized the UN chief Ban Ki-moon for honoring the Assad regime’s envoy for 10 years of service, along with other ambassadors.
“Does not the Syrian people deserve to be honored for the steadfastness they have shown in the face of the genocidal campaign waged by the Assad regime as well as its Russian and Iranian allies for nearly six years ago?”, the letter said.
"Perhaps Russia also deserve to be honored for using all types of weapons to massacre the Syrian people and destroy their civilization. The Assad regime and its Iranian allies might also deserve to be honored for their continued killing of the Syrian people for six years,” Hijab said.
“We are not asking the United Nations to do anything as our previous calls over the past six years to protect the Syrian people and to hold accountable perpetrators of war crimes have all fallen on deaf ears. The world is standing idly by as the Syrian people are being killed en masse. Even when the Assad regime used chemical weapons, the international community looked the other way.”
Describing one of the children killed in the Hass massacre, Hijab said: “We are writing to you to let you know how the dismembered hand of a child was still clutching his backpack after his school was bombed and to ask you if the Assad regime as well as its Russian and the Iranian allies deserve to be members of the United Nations which was supposedly founded to prevent war crimes against humanity and punish the perpetrators.”
Hijab said that the answer to these questions is a real test to the United Nations and its legitimacy, adding that these questions will show whether the United Nations is prepared to uphold its moral and legal responsibilities. (Source: Syrian Coalition)
Airstrikes by the Assad regime and Russia air forces earlier on Wednesday hit a schools complex and a public market in the town of Hass in rural Idlib, killing at least 26 civilians and wounding dozens more, mostly schoolchildren and teachers. High-explosive parachute-retarded bombs were used in the airstrikes, launched in a joint attack by the Assad regime and Russian air forces.
The Syrian Coalition condemned this heinous crime against schoolchildren and civilians. In a statement released following the attack, the Coalition stressed that the deliberate targeting of civilians using high-explosive weapons is clearly aimed at killing as many people as possible; causing mayhem; forcing civilians to leave their homes; and forcing them to agree to local truces out of the framework of the political process.
Responsibility for this heinous crime lies with the international community as world leaders and active members of the United Nations continue to ignore these war crimes, thus risk further fueling the conflict and undermining all chances of a political solution, the Coalition added.
The Coalition earlier said that the United Nations continues to ignore Russia’s crimes and its violations of international law, urging it to make a thorough and real reconsideration of its positions and performance on Syria after the election of a new secretary-general. (Source: Syrian Coalition)
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul Aziz reaffirmed his country’s support for the Syrian people in their struggle to achieve their aspirations for freedom and dignity and commitment to alleviate their suffering caused by the Assad regime and its allies.
King Salman received the General Coordinator of the Opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) Riad Hijab at al-Yammamh Palace on Tuesday. He confirmed the Kingdom’s support for a political solution in Syria in line with the Geneva communique of 2012.
The Saudi King commended the HNC’s role in the political process in Syria, stressing the historical, brotherly relationship between Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Hijab thanked the Saudi King for the honorable position the Kingdom has so far shown with regard to Syria and its leading role in supporting the Syrian people.
The two sides discussed the latest developments in Syria and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in most areas, especially in Aleppo as a result of the ongoing war crimes being committed by the Assad regime, Russia, and the Iranian-backed sectarian militias.
Hijab called for increased support for the Free Syrian Army and the internally displaced people.
Both sides also discussed the status of Syrians visiting the Kingdom as well as residents there with regard to education, medical care, exemption from fees related to visits, residency permits, and work permits. (Source: Syrian Coalition)
Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Yasser Farhan urged Syrian nationals holding a second European nationality to lodge complaints against the Assad regime for the war crimes and crimes against humanity its forces are committing against their loved ones in Syria.
Farhan, who is also a member of the Coalition’s legal committee, thanked the International Federation for Human Rights and the Human Rights League for lodging a complaint against the Assad regime on behalf of Obeida Dabbagh, a Franco-Syrian engineer living in France.
Dabbagh’s brother and nephew who are both Franco-Syrian nationals disappeared in Syria in 2013.
The lawsuit filed by the two human rights groups in a specialized Paris court on Monday requested an immediate judicial investigation into “crimes of "forced disappearances," "torture," and "crimes against humanity," according to Clemence Bectarte, the lawyer coordinating the legal action.
The complaint focuses on Mazzen Dabbagh, 57 and his 22-year-old son Patrick who were detained by members of the Assad regime`s feared air force intelligence service in Damascus in 2013.
After being transferred to a Damascus military prison widely known to be a torture center, the pair were never seen again.
Patrick, a 20-year old student at the Damascus University at the time, was arrested at midnight on November 3, 2013 from his home by five officers who said that they belonged to the Assad regime’s air force intelligence services and wanted to take him in for questioning, but did not give any reason or grounds for his arrest.
The next day, they, accompanied by a dozen armed soldiers, returned at midnight to accuse Mazzen, Patrick’s father of “not having raised his son well”, and then arrested him in order to “teach him how to educate his son.”
“Since we cannot refer crimes perpetrated in Syria to the International Criminal Court, it is time for the justice systems of third countries to begin investigating the crimes committed by the Bashar Assad’s regime,” the rights groups said.
The rights groups reminded the French Foreign Ministry that in September 2015, it had transferred the Caesar Report to the Public Prosecutor of the Paris Court’s specialized unit, which had started a preliminary investigation.
The Caesar Report consists of about 55,000 photos taken by a former Assad regime military photographer inside two military hospitals in Damascus. The photos, which were smuggled out of Syria in 2015, show emaciated bodies of detainees killed under torture by Assad’s security forces. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)